Tackling the Par 3s at Pinehurst
Golf Technology

Tackling the Par 3s at Pinehurst

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Tackling the Par 3s at Pinehurst

With the U.S. Open this week, the team at Shot Scope has pulled some performance statistics from their database to see how real golfers tackle the Pinehurst No. 2 par-3s and what it might mean for the pros playing in this week’s U.S. Open.

Over the years, there have been some pivotal moments on the par-3s at Pinehurst, with Payne Stewart and Michael Campbell both making birdie on the 17th to seal their victories down the stretch in 1999 and 2005, respectively.

About Pinehurst No. 2

Before we get into the par-3s, here are some general stats on the course.

Pinehurst No. 2 has 111 bunkers over its 196 acres. Of those 196 acres, there are 61 acres of turf, 41 acres of fairway and zero acres of conventional rough. 

Instead of rough, players can find themselves playing from hardpan sand/native sandscape, wiregrass, pine needles and pinecones. This is what is referred to as ‘rough’ in the Shot Scope stats.

How daunting are the par-3s?

Wow!

Now let’s look at the individual holes.

This hole, depending on the tee selection, will typically play anything from a long iron to fairway wood, with trouble on either side of the green. 

A firm, dome-shaped green makes the likelihood of a shot that is close to the green’s edge rolling into trouble even greater.

The scoring averages above reveal just how important the tee shot is—they are all important, but let me explain what makes this one particularly important.

When hitting the green, players make their par without too many issues. However, missing the green has the lowest likelihood of getting up and down (all lie types) and the scoring average shoots up.

Whether it is the ‘rough’ or a bunker, players are staring a bogey in the face at best and, with up and downs near impossible from the bunker, a good miss stays out of the sand. Easier said than done!

Despite being the shortest of the par-3s, the ninth hole is no walk in the park. A shallow, sloping green causes chaos for players.

Trouble surrounds the green with bunkers just before the halfway point and undulations penalizing misplaced shots. 

With the highest scoring average of all the par-3s, as well as the highest scoring average for shots that miss the green, anyone who can make a par here has had an incredible hole. 

It doesn’t seem like there really is a good miss on this hole but if you had to, then long and right is preferred.

Anyone in the sand has essentially killed their round. It plays nearly 1.5 strokes over par.  

The shortest hole on the course typically plays a full stroke over par typically. Brutal! 

Six holes later, players can enjoy the easiest par-3 the 15th. With no immediate danger to the front of the green, the amateur golfer’s favorite miss, short, should avoid any major issues.

Should players miss the green in the bunkers or the ‘rough,’ they still have the best scoring averages of any of the par-3s from these lie types. They are unlikely to get up and down. The conversion rate is just 29 percent but that’s the game we are playing. Miss greens, drop shots.

Interestingly, despite having the best scoring averages, the 15th has the lowest GIR percentage. Perhaps knowing you need to carry a hazard forces players to take the extra club they should be taking anyway. Shot Scope data shows that playing to the back yardages will help you hit more greens.

Back in 1999, Payne Stewart bogeyed the hole in the final round to drop a shot back of Mickelson, making for one of the tournament’s most gripping duels down the stretch and his birdie on the 17th even greater.

The final par-3 of the course, the 17th, is a relatively long hole with menacing bunkers once again. Long and left will find sand, as will long right and short right, with the right-side bunker wrapping around the front of the green somewhat.

The 17th has one of the worst scoring averages, regardless of what you do off the tee. Players here have typically bogeyed the hole due to the low GIR percentage and likelihood of getting up and down, causing the average score to be 3.8.

The majority of players who miss the green have suffered significantly from a scoring perspective. Every lie type scoring average starts with a four—miss the green, make a bogey. Simple.

Your Worst Nightmare?

There you have it, Pinehurst No. 2 par-3s, the amateur golfer’s worst nightmare.

Want to see how you would play Pinehurst No. 2? Shot Scope performance tracking users can use their club data to create their very own strategy for every hole at Pinehurst on MyStrategy for free.

Shot Scope is the Official On-Course Data Partner of MyGolfSpy.

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      Greg

      1 month ago

      I feel like there should be a qualifier or two on the claim that 0% of ShotScope users have gotten up-and-down from a bunker on a par 3 at No. 2. Rounds to 0? From the tips? In a given time period?

      Reply

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    2021 Tommy Armour Impact No. 2 Putter 2021 Tommy Armour Impact No. 2 Putter
    Blade Putters
    Jul 17, 2024
    This Blade Putter is Under $100
    News
    Jul 17, 2024
    Forum Member Review of Stix Golf Sets
    Prime Day 2024 Prime Day 2024
    Buyer's Guide
    Jul 17, 2024
    Amazon Prime Day Golf Deals 2024